Attack on America
By Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church
Jan 2, 2002, 20:36
The noise must have been deafening!
Out of nowhere. . .the impact of the plane into the tower of the World Trade Center. As the tower reeled and tilted the impact of an airline turned guided missile crashed into the second tower. The date September 11th. . .if you were to write it out numerically it would be 9-1-1. History will remember it as the day that war was proclaimed against the United States of America on American soil.
The loss of life and the carnage is staggering. The horror stories abound. America seeks to come to grips with the tragedy and as always the questions will come. The real question that people will ask goes beyond politics or international terrorism. The real question is a simple yet profound one...the question will echo from hospital rooms to churches across the land....WHY?
No amount of preparation can make us ready for the shock that rocks our system when we hear of the events that took place in New York and Washington. As we stagger from the news what can we do to find stability as the world crumbles around us?
Think about Job in the Bible. Imagine his feelings as he heard. . .Your livestock has been stolen, your sheep and camels have been destroyed, the people who worked for you have been murdered, and your children have been crushed, all of them are dead. All ten of them!
Job got this news rapid fire, within five minutes his world crumbled. In the midst of the rubble of his life he then got the most painful of all diseases...boils...from head to toe. Grief, Shock, Horror, Disappointment. . .you can choose the word, he was all of those things. Most of us would be as well.
Tragedy after tragedy, his life began to leak at the seams and take on water. In the aftermath of standing next to the ten graves of his children the voice that Job heard echo in his head was from his wife, she said "Curse God and die!"
That was the moment that we find the greatest glimpse into the character of Job. His struggle was the most difficult of all, he was struggling with WHY of life. He was looking to put some understanding to what was going on around him. His very own wife said, Blame it on God....and Job snapped!
He did not snap and take his wife's suggestion, instead he snapped at his wife. He called her a "fool". . .he asked, "Should we only accept from God that which is good and never adversity?" This was a bold statement of faith and trust. You must remember that real faith is believing that God is who He says He is and will do all He has promised to do! This is what Job believed. There might be another way of stating it, it is not original, but it says volumes about what belief is. Job embraced it. . .He understood...
God is too kind to do anything cruel
Too wise to make a mistake
Too deep to explain himself. . .
When you believe that it tends to erase the WHY and refocuses your efforts.
In Romans 11:33 we read, "Oh the depth...the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways!
Job could cease in worrying about the WHY when he remembered WHO was still in charge behind the scenes. The cries and sounds of confusion and terror become more muffled when we trust and rest in HIM.
In the struggle with our WHYs on this dark day in history we must remember the same thing in order to have our WHYs muffled a bit. Instead of dwelling on the WHY look for opportunities to help comfort, support, and encourage those in the days ahead. . and get ready. . .Our nation will discover that the events of terror that have taken place will spur us to our finest hours and greatest days in the future. But even more significant than that is when the Body of Christ becomes a voice of reason, clarity, and help in the midst of this crisis...take that role seriously.
We have continued to watch and pray about the events that have taken place over the past few days. Let's continue to think about how we as Christians in the midst of our stunned disbelief need to respond...
First, Keep trusting God, and keep your focus on HIM!
Psalm 119:114, "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word."
God has proven Himself to be trustworthy in the past; He can be trusted now. He has never failed us, there is not one moment in your life where you can find a time that God failed you...the same is true right now. Even in the midst of this crisis, God is God and He is in control. You need to remember that, and then take the time to share that with others as well....they need to hear it also.
Second, have courage in the face of tragedy. "Be strong and of good courage...Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:5-7,9).
This is the time for our nation to be strong, and Christians need to step to the front lines of leadership. The Body of Christ need to be strong and share messages of hope, assurance, and confidence. Christians can shine brightly for God during this tragedy and can be the rallying point for others. I think we are at the dawn of what may just be our nation's finest hours. . .and I also believe that it is time for Christians to once again make a difference in the world
Third, as Christians we have both the privilege and the responsibility to pray.
The situation is serious, our responsibility is sacred, but God is strong.
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3).
We must take seriously our role as prayer warriors. We can take the needs and burdens of our hearts to the very Creator of the Universe. This is one of the most powerful ministries that we can have.
Here are some prayer points:
Pray for the victims and families of the World Trade Center attack and the attack at the Pentagon
Pray for the victims of other apparent terrorist attacks throughout the country
Pray for the President and his aides as they formulate a response
Pray for the response of Christians who minister to those who hurt
Pray for those who will be doing the rescue work
Pray for those who will have the heartbreaking tasks of ministering to the families who have lost loved ones
Fourth, don't give up hope.
The psalmist asked, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?" and then he responded, "Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him" (Psalm 43:5).
The statement was made in a Bible study last night, If we have no hope we have nothing. Christians are the only ones who have hope because we know the source of hope. To have hope in anything else but Jesus is nothing but wishful thinking. Wishful thinking doesn't help a great deal in situations like this, so be the voice of hope in a sea of hopelessness.....draw your hope from Him
God is in control. Trust Him , Pray, and Hold on...we have HOPE
There is a Bible study that you might find helpful, it is about questions to ask in a storm...designed to calm our fears
FEMA has offered advice on how to talk to kids about what is happening. It is a good resource to use as a starting point.
Churches and organizations have been responding to the tragedy. See what has been happening at Christianity Today
Here are also a few verses of Scripture that are helpful in the struggle our nation is going through...
God’s Powerful Presence
But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." - Isaiah 43:1-2
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. "For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you." - 2 Kings 20:5
"I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him, and I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation. Psalm 91:14-16
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. 2 Timothy 4:17
A call to prayer!
Today is a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance here in the United States.
Take the time this day to pray for...
The families of the victims of this attack on the United States
The rescue workers that are showing the heart and spirit of compassion
The ministry of the Christian community in responding to the needs around them
The leaders of this nation as decisions are made as to how to react and what to do next
The ones who have chosen to commit the atrocities that have impacted us all over the past few days. .
Once again in the midst of all of this we would remind you to remember to keep trusting the Father who is and will always be in charge..
I found this today. . .
The following retraction had to be printed in the Milton-Freewater Valley Herald: "The title of a First Christian Church program in last week's paper should have been recorded as 'Our God Reigns.' It was inaccurately recorded as 'Our God Resigns.'"
Thankfully we serve a God who has not given up on his sin-stained world, but has chosen instead to reign as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He has not resigned, He would not do that. . He reigns and is in charge.
Take the time to remember and pray this day
Blessing to each of you
A schoolteacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest. He had no trouble with discipline that term.
The reason was simple, he had scared his students to death. They thought their teacher was invincible. . .
The Bible talks about the fact that we do not have to be afraid.
In 2 Timothy we read these words, if you do not have these memorized then take some time to make this a memory verse that you can recall quickly..."God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self control." (1:7) NCV
Here is the same verse in another translation. . .
For God did not give us a spirit of fearfulness. . .(ASV)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity ...(RSV)
The Spirit that he has bestowed on us is not one that shrinks from danger (KNOX)
In other words you do not have to live life in fear. The security that the Savior has secured for you has come at a great price. In the book of Psalms we read (Chapter 46) that He is our refuge, fortress, and Him we do not have to be afraid.
If the events of the past week have made you fearful, remember that you do not have to stay that way. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. . .Fear not, God is God and He is still...and will always be in control!
We are a week removed from the attack on America, yet many people still feel as if they are in shock. . .if you are one of them you might be wondering why, when we are being encouraged to get back to life as usual. The reason that you feel as you do is because you suspect that things aren't going to be the same.
We felt secure as citizens of the modern Western world, the most powerful and enlightened culture in history. Now we realize we are vulnerable.
As we have viewed the videos of terrorist attacks on innocent and defenseless people, we have been shocked and stricken. Evil has suddenly become so tangible and overwhelming that the events of the past week are being compared to Pearl Harbor, the single attack that propelled the United States into the Second World War. We have experienced an emotional avalanche, as feelings that have been nearly dormant for years have awakened with open, startled eyes. Fear, grief, anxiety, rage, hatred, and desire for revenge all compete for our heart’s attention. What is happening to us? Why do we feel like this?
The Bible makes it clear that this world is an evil place. The recent attacks have awakened us to the reality of a world that is capable of evil on a scale that human beings have never known. A deadly blow was delivered with apparent ease to the heart of a mighty nation, and we are forced to face the reality of danger in a world of high tech, nuclear, and biological weapons.
The reason that we are still in shock is that we should be.
We should be grateful that we are, because as long as we are awake to our vulnerability we have a vision of our need for reliance on the Lord instead of ourselves.
After this week’s events, what will we be relying on? The strength of Western democratic institutions? The power of our military and intelligence forces? The ability of our modern media to keep us abreast of events? If we rely solely on these things, we will fall back into complacent sleep until the next—and even more shocking—awakening.
When it is all said and done we must remember that the One that we must rely on is God. He is our only source of strength, refuge, and hope. . His promise to be with us sustains us and He never leaves us alone.
If you are still in shock, that is to be expected, but look up...the Father is drawing you toward Him.
We're still hoping we'll wake up. We're still hoping we'll open a sleepy eye and think, "What a horrible dream." But we won't, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn't. And so we come to you. We don't ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don't request it; we implore it. We know what you can do.
We've read the accounts. We've pondered the stories and now we plead, "Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
"Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.
Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children too, Lord. Do it again.
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them.
Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him.
The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope.
The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king's counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary.
What we saw here last Tuesday, you saw there that Friday.
Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the smoke eclipsed our morning, so the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced. And by dusk, heaven's sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock. But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord.
Grant us a September Easter.
We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Christians are praying with Jews. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.
Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you've used her to heal a hurting world. Do it again, Lord. Do it again!
Through Christ, Amen.
© Copyright 2003 by CCC Ministries